Crips Co-Founder Nominated for Peace Prize

ByABC News
November 20, 2000, 7:59 AM

Nov, 20 -- Stanley Tookie Williams is co-founder of one of the nations most notorious gangs, and a death-row inmate convicted of killing four people in 1981.

Hes also a nominee for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.

From his tiny San Quentin cell, Williams leads a campaign to stop children from making the same mistakes he did. He writes gritty childrens books about his experiences as a founder and leader of the street gang, the Crips.

I never imagined Crips membership would one day spread throughout California, he writes in an apology on his Web site (see Web Link, right). I also didnt expect the Crips to end up ruining the lives of so many young people, especially young black men who have hurt other young black men.

So Tookie is seeking atonement in the form of his anti-gang writings, and his Internet Project for Street Peace, which allows at-risk youths in California and South Africa to share their experiences through e-mail and chat rooms from community centers.

These efforts led to his nomination by a Swiss parliamentarian for the Nobel Prize.

Getting Kids Away From Gangs

I think he has done extraordinary work, parliament member Mario Fehr said. For these young kids that are in these street gangs, I think it is one of the only opportunities to get close to them. To get them out of the street gangs.

Williams, now 46, and high school buddy Raymond Washington created the Crips in 1971 to fight rival gangs in east Los Angeles. Washington was killed in 1979.

Tookie, or Big Took to his gang, published the first of eight childrens books in 1996. His latest, Life In Prison, is a gritty look at life in the pokey. In it, he speaks of his 20 years behind bars, the humiliation he has suffered as a prisoner, and how he feels homesick every day.

Its very humiliating to have guards watching us closely to make sure none of us is breaking the rules by touching, or being touched, too much, he writes.